Mayor Dave for Mayor Blog

Well, That Turned Out Alright by Mayor Dave
April 9, 2007, 11:57 am
Filed under: written by Mayor Dave

Election day is always a little tense. I voted around 8 AM with Dianne at Blessed Sacrament. Dianne assured me that I had her vote, which cheered me up, but I was disappointed that there wasn’t the usual election day bake sale because it was spring break at the school. (Spring break had us concerned. No, actually it had us freaked out. Our voters tend to be younger — students, teachers, young families with kids. And thanks to the first time spring break has come at election time in 17 years, my voters were going to be at Disney World. So, we designed this aggressive absentee ballot campaign where we mailed people a form so they could order a ballot and I did a robo call about three weeks out reminding people they could vote absentee. It worked — about one in five ballots was cast by somebody who was probably on a beach on Tuesday and many, many of those were our votes.) Channel 3 did the traditional story showing me put my ballot in the vote counter, look at the camera and walk off. (Now, that’s captivating television!) I came home and went out and dropped literature in my neighborhood with my campaign staff. It was the second time we dropped this ward in four days — it was mostly just something to do to keep us occupied.

We got the first numbers from the City Clerk’s office at 11 AM. It was good news. Our best wards were out-performing the city average. I shuffled around the campaign office for awhile, went to lunch with the staff, shuffled around some more, went home and tried to nap (I didn’t sleep well the night before), shuffled around the house, tried to write a speech, took a shower, put on a suit, ordered Thai food for the campaign staff, picked up the food (Pad Thai, Lime Chicken, two orders of Pad Jadet (one chicken, one beef) and four egg rolls) and went back downtown to the office. At 4 PM we got more vote totals from the Clerk and the numbers were even better. While the total city turnout was 20% at that point, our best wards were turning out at around 30%. I was feeling pretty good, but candidate paranoia is a persistent thing. Any candidate worth his salt knows that anything can go wrong at any time.

About 7:30, our Thai food consumed, we went to our victory party at the High Noon Saloon to wait for the results. We all crammed into a small room behind the stage — Dianne, my campaign manager Megan McGrorty who has been with me from the start 18 months ago, our field director Mitch Wallace, our campus director Matt Berg, Branda Weix our computer genius, Joel Gratz our pollster, my chief of staff Janet Piraino, my communications director George Twigg and a few others. Matt’s phone started ringing about ten minutes after 8. He had about 40 people out at the polls waiting to get the results and phone them in. Matt wrote down the numbers and passed them to Branda, who entered them on her lap top. (By this time the Gomers were playing Gomeroke and it was pretty loud in the little room behind the stage. This was ok except when the Gomeroke singer was off key, which was about half the time.) The first numbers were from the ninth district on the west side. We won almost two-to-one. This was good, but it was early. My home ward (ward 65) came in next and we got 80%. (I interpreted this to mean either that I hadn’t offended my neighbors or that they wanted to keep me at the office and out of the neighborhood.)

By about 8:30 the pattern was pretty well set. Branda did her pie charts showing how many base wards, persuasion wards and other wards had come in and everything pointed to a total around 60%. (In the office pool I had predicted 54%, so this was very good news to me.) I went out to do radio interviews at 8:30 and tv at 9 PM. Then I went back to the cramped office to wait for the rest of the numbers. We decided to make our victory speech at 10 PM for the top of the news, even though we hadn’t heard from Ray Allen. The Gomers started to play “Beautiful Day” by U2, Kathleen Falk took the stage with dozens of supporters, the crowd waved signs and cheered. We lined up in the cramped room to go up to the stage. Megan asked Kathleen to be brief with her introduction. Then Megan’s phone rang. It was Ray calling to congratulate me. Megan rushed back to the stage to reverse her request to Kathleen. Now she wanted her to stretch it out while I talked to Ray. So, Kathleen started a chant of some kind. I think it was “Dave, Dave, Dave”, but I couldn’t really make it out. (Kathleen’s a fiscal conservative, so it could have been “Save, Save, Save.”) Ray and I had a cordial and brief conversation and we were ready to go.

I hugged and shook hands with everybody I could reach on stage and then turned to the podium. Now, there are moments in life that are worth remembering and this will always be one of them for me. We started this campaign 18 months ago. Maybe 100 nights on the phone asking people for money and support, a couple dozen debates with my opponents where their goal was not to make me look good, countless interviews answering the same five questions over and over again, cold pizza, warm beer, fitful sleep. And for all that you get this one moment where the Gomers are playing Beautiful Day and you have good friends behind you and the crowd is chanting your name. And in that moment if — when you turn to the crowd which is all smiling and waving red signs and hasn’t yet been disappointed by the ordinariness of what you are about to say — you don’t stop for just a second and offer a little recognition to whoever organizes the universe then, well, you’re just not getting it. So, I did that. I hugged Megan and I hugged the County Executive and I hugged Dianne and then in that split second that was mine, when I turned from them but before I took the one step to the podium, I thought that it was all worth it and that sometimes for just a few seconds life is perfect. I looked out at the crowd and I thought those things, but I also thought that you can’t put that moment in words. And so all I said was, “Well, that turned out alright.”


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